[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 1, August 2011].
Approximately 750,000 people currently live with dementia in the UK, and this number will rise to over a million by 2021. The financial costs of dementia in the UK are £20 billion per year currently, possibly rising to £27 billion per year by 2018.
Training in dementia care should be offered to all staff working with older people in the health, social care and voluntary sectors, in line with NICE recommendations. This conclusion featured in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia’s radical report “The £20 billion question”. The level of training in dementia amongst health and social care staff is inadequate, particularly given the projected increase in dementia cases. Recommendations within the NICE dementia guideline state that all staff working with older people in the health, social care and voluntary sectors should have access to training in dementia care consistent with their roles and responsibilities.
NICE wants educational programmes to include the following topics: knowing the early signs and symptoms of dementia and its subtypes; the impact on the person with dementia and carers, family and social network; the roles of staff and agencies involved in care; basic advice on how these agencies should work together; how to anticipate challenging behaviour and how to manage violence, aggression and extreme agitation, including de-escalation techniques and the question of physical restraint.
Dementia awareness training in hospitals is recognised to be a priority.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2011). Parliamentary report calls for dementia care training. NICE News Update. London: NICE, July 12th 2011.